Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of Agnes Foote Campbell, 1892-1929
By Annamarie Klose Hrubes, Metadata Initiatives Librarian, Ohio State University
Field Organizer, Women's Political Union; Organizer, New Jersey Branch of Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage; Organizer, New Jersey Branch of National Women's Party
Agnes Foote Campbell was born on April 13, 1893 in Mill, New Jersey. Raised in Short Hills - Milburn Township, New Jersey, she was the eldest child of Dr. Wellington Campbell and Carolyn Sibyl Campbell, née Foote. Her father was a graduate of Yale College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Her siblings were Katherine Wade Campbell, Wellington Foote Campbell, and Ruth Campbell. As noted in press releases during her time as a suffragette, Campbell was a direct descendent of Eli Yale, the founder of Yale University. Campbell attended Vassar College and earned a Baccalaureate degree in 1913.
As an affluent, unmarried white woman with a college education, Campbell was a typical recruit to the suffrage movement. She became a field organizer for the Women's Political Union.
From 1915 to 1916, Campbell served as an organizer for the New Jersey branch of Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage (NJCU). In 1915, her work included a state referendum campaign for women's suffrage in Camden, New Jersey, assisting a friend, Julia Hurlbut of Morristown. Hurlbut had been active in the NJ referendum for woman suffrage, but after its defeat at the polls, she shifted her focus to the federal Amendment. [LINK]
Coinciding with the presidential election of 1916, in April and May Campbell was one of twenty-three participants on the “Suffrage Special.” Starting and ending in Washington, D.C., these suffragists, dubbed “envoys,” embarked upon a grueling five-week 3,000 mile west-bound train journey stopping in large cities for meetings and rallies. The focus of the Suffrage Special was a Constitutional Amendment for women's suffrage, spreading their message to the nearly four million women along the way. Essential to the achievement of their goal was strong and consistent press coverage. Attending luminaries such as Mrs. Harriet Stanton Blatch, daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Miss Lucy Burns, National Vice Chairman of the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage (CU) ensured larger crowds, and thus press interest, at each event.
Hurlbut (Vice Chairman of NJCU) and Campbell served together as New Jersey's representatives on the journey. The Topeka Daily Capital noted Campbell's “fog-horn voice gives her a constant job as a street speaker.” It also referred to her and Hurlbut as “newsies for the cause.” On May 11, the Special was greeted in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a parade and thirty car escort. During its two-day visit in Salt Lake City, the group convened a meeting with 200 women at the Hotel Utah. Campbell was a featured speaker at this event.
In August 1916, Campbell travelled to Washington state to serve as an organizer for the National Woman's Party (NWP); working alongside Hurlbut to focus state prior to the November election.
In the wake of Woodrow Wilson's election as president, Campbell attended the November 17, 1916 meeting of the CU where further strategies to advance their cause were conceived. When the NWP held its annual convention in March 1, 1917 in Washington, D.C., Campbell was in attendance. During that same trip, she participated in a two-hour picket of the White House marked by a heavy downpour of rain.
Campbell's employment history is noteworthy. From 1917 to 1919, Campbell worked as a bank clerk for National City Bank in New York City. From from May 1919 to possibly 1922, she was a copywriter for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. Personnel records attest Campbell applied for this same position prior, in December 1915. As the suffrage movement relied upon savvy public relations tactics, thus it is likely her employable writing skills were strategic, useful to the movement, or both. Other suffragists, including Frances Maule, Lucille Platt, and Therese Olzendam, worked for J. Walter Thompson as well. Campbell also worked for Howe, Snow, and Bertles, an investment banking company, until 1924. From roughly 1920 to 1925, Campbell served as a correspondent for the Vassar Quarterly, the college's alumni newsletter, compiling information on fellow alumnae.
Campbell remained active in the suffrage movement throughout the 1920s. According to a death notice produced by Vassar College Campbell died on February 21, 1929, after a short illness with pneumonia. She was revered as a dedicated Vassar alumna, who actively participated and contributed to alumnae events. She is buried with her parents and sister Ruth at Saint Stephens Episcopal Cemetery in Milburn, New Jersey.
Note: Some sources list Campbell as only active in the 1930s. This information is inaccurate or may refer to a different Agnes Campbell.
Bulletin of Vassar College: Alumnae Biographical Register Issue. (Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College, 1939), pg. 189.https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/007905147
“City Welcomes Suffragettes,” Salt Lake Telegram (Salt Lake City, UT), May 11, 1916, pgs. 1, 7.
Dodyk, Delight W. Education and Agitation: The Woman Suffrage Movement in New Jersey. (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 1997, ProQuest UMI: 9800245), pgs. 434, 445, 528, 621-622, 655.
“Eastern Suffrage Women Pass Thru on Way to Pacific,” Chase County Leader (Cottonwood Falls, Kansas), April 18, 1916, pg. 4.
“Eastern Suffragists Invade Old Pueblo,” Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Arizona), April 21, 1916, pg. 3.
“Eastern Suffragists Spend Busy Day Campaigning in Salt Lake,” Salt Lake Herald Republican (Salt Lake City, Utah), May 12, 1916, pg. 3.
“'Flying Squadron' is on No Joy-Ride,” Topeka Daily Capital, April 16, 1916, pg. 29.
Foote, Abram W. Foote family, comprising the genealogy and history of Nathaniel Foote, of Wethersfield, Conn., and his descendants; also a partial record of descendants of Pasco Foote of Salem, Mass., Richard Foote of Stafford County, Va., and John Foote of New York City, Vol. 1. Rutland, Vermont: Marble City Press-The Tuttle Company, 1907, pg. 190. https://archive.org/details/footefamilycompr011907foot/
Fifth General Catalogue of the Officers and Alumnae of Vassar College, 1861-1920 (Poughkeepsie, NY: Vassar College, 1920), pg. 170. https://books.google.com/books?id=CkoWAQAAIAAJ
“Campbell, Agnes Foote” (Box 4), J. Walter Thompson Company Personnel Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.
“On the ‘Suffrage Special' to Win the Nation,” The Winfield Daily Free Press (Winfield, Kansas), April 20, 1916, pg. 7.
“Suffrage Heralds Go,” Washington Post (Washington, DC), April 10, 1916, pg. 2.
“Suffrage Workers Make Preparations for Greatest Fight,” Oregon Daily Journal (Portland, Oregon), November 17, 1916, pg. 3.
Sutton, Denise H. Globalizing ideal beauty: How female copywriters of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency redefined beauty for the twentieth century. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), pg. 38.
Vassar Miscellany (Poughkeepsie, NY), vol. XLII, no. 1, November 1, 1912, pgs. 59-60.
Vassar Quarterly(Poughkeepsie, NY), vol. V, no. 2, February 1, 1920, pg. 149. https://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu
Vassar Quarterly (Poughkeepsie, NY), vol. X, no. 2, February 1, 1920, pg. 141. https://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu
Vassar Quarterly (Poughkeepsie, NY), vol. XIV, no. 2, May 1, 1929, pg. 145. https://newspaperarchives.vassar.edu
“Women Are to Plan Campaignto Determine What Part Suffragists Will Play in Election,” Grand Forks Herald(Grand Forks, North Dakota), July 31, 1916, pg. 7.
From ancestry.com website:
- New Jersey, Births and Christenings Index, 1660-1931
- New Jersey, State Census, 1905
- United States Federal Census of 1900, 1910, 1920
- U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990
- U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current
Photograph of Agnes Foote Campbell from the 1913 Vassar College yearbook, pg. 52, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1990 in ancestry.com.
Photo of Campbell (right) with Mrs. Morris Mead in 1916 as they prepare for a car tour of New Jersey to raise support for the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage. Mrs. J.A.H. Alison Turnbull Hopkins' car in front of N.J. Headquarters, 17 W. Parls Street, Newark. Mrs. Morris B. Mead South Orange, Chairman of 10 C.D. by car - Miss Agnes F. Campbell, organizer tying on banner. New Jersey, Newark, United States, 1916. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000203/.
While not identified in the photo, Campbell stands behind the sign's “m” in the word “Demand” in this group photo of the Suffrage Special delegates.
The Photo Craft Shop, Colorado Springs, Colo. Arrival of the "Flying Squadron" at Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Suffrage Special". Colorado Springs United States, 1916. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000271/.